My appointment was at 0930, I arrived at 1030; an hour late. The nurse was having some personal issues and all her patients were being seen by the doctor. I amused myself in the waiting room with my iPad, surfing the internet. The husband sat beside me, a magazine in hand.
Eventuallly I was led back to the small exam room where I stripped off the surgery bra and dressed in the green gown with the abstract art designs sprinkled over it.
The doctor appeared and inspected the surgery site and in a very straight face, soft voiced said "The pathology report came back. You had massive amount of lymph node involvement." I could see by the look on his face he was giving me time to absorb this. I looked into his eyes and nodded. It was quiet for a few beats then he said "We went in to clean you out and we got all of them." It was what he didn't say that sent a chill through me. Until a PET scan is done again, I won't know if it has spread.
There wasn't anything I needed to ask. "Your oncologist will probably want to run more chemo and radiation."
This I knew was planned prior to the surgical procedure. I have an appointment on December 4th to see her. At that time, I expect her to elaborate on the pathology report. Yesterday was an emotional day for me. Right now I'm consumed by fear and the tears fall.
The best part of the day was when my neighbor appeared to visit. She is one of the most positive people one could ask for. She reviewed cases of her friends and family that had traveled this path and are still around to talk about it. 15 yrs. ago Stage 4 and she is still enjoying her company.
I have a difficult time maintaining a positive attitude and with each parcel of news I receive, I imagine the worst case scenario. I'm a "half empty glass" sort of person instead of a "half full" glass sort of person. If you prepare for the worst and it doesn't happen, it makes the good news that much sweeter.
The surgery site is healing with fluid accumulated in the axillary area. This swelling might be what is causing the nerve pain. I have been given instructions on avoiding lymphedema. A glove to be worn when doing dishes, doing garden work and watch for any signs of infection should a cut occur on that hand.
This will take some training to stay alert and aware of these stipulations.
A Thanksgiving dinner will be here as usual. The daughter will be here all day and in the kitchen. I'll have the turkey and the ham in the oven and she will take care of all the side dishes.
It's time for me to get ready to pick up Carrie and get her to school. I like being back to my routine.